December 30, 2007

Shotmaker - Complete Discography 1993-1996

Shotmaker was a mid-90s band that blended together the more chaotic style of the emerging California screamo scene with more traditional emo and post-hardcore. They favor a lot of dense chord voicings and rhythmic patterns though they trend towards having melodic vocals and lead guitar lines. The bass is particularly dynamic being riff-based, harmonically important, and also rhythmically pounding. Apparently members are now in a band called Three Penny Opera.

Complete Discography 1993-1996 (2000) - Download - Review

December 18, 2007

Venetian Snares - My Downfall

Venetian Snares managed to release his most recent LP My Downfall, somewhat under the radar. Venetian Snares, who usually gets reviewed by sites like Pop Matters and tiny mix tapes, just hasn't been given a seat on the hype train for this album. It's hard to see why not because My Downfall is a logical continuation from his most critically acclaimed album Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett. On this album, VS, trades in his typical, highly electronic breakbeat in favor for the sake of exploring the atonal soundscape of modern classical music. As opposed to Rossz..., which was about a 50-50 mix of breakbeat and sampling of modern classical artists, My Downfall almost drops breakbeat entirely. The album isn't as likable in the traditional VS sense (the album doesn't have any electronic blips or video game noises), but the tracks are still intelligently composed and show off a new, subdued, and fairly sophisticated side of VS' eclectic sensibility.

My Downfall (2007) - Download - Review

December 13, 2007

Drowning With Our Anchors - Demo

Really good emo from the Bay Area. They've only released this demo and I don't know if anything else is going to come of it. They have ex-members of the other great band Makanda who may also make an appearance here.

Demo (2007) - Download - Mini-Review

November 30, 2007

Life At These Speeds - Discography

Life At These Speeds were a short lived punk/emo/indie (oh really they didn't make it?) band from Oregon. I saw them play at an anarchist bookstore two years ago so I picked up their self-titled album and ultimately their 2006 LP, To Your Health. Both are great, fun albums but the self-titled is slightly better, though the best songs of the two are both on To Your Health, in the poppy "Blocking Out the Stars" and "Not So Long Ago." Then general sound is a mix of punk and the classical emo style. The result is sort of like midwest indie but without the sentimentality and heart-on-sleeve values. Also they have a slightly rougher if more fun attitude.

Life at These Speeds (2004) - Download - Review

To Your Health (2006) - Download - Review

November 26, 2007

Burton Wagner - 21

November 25th has come and gone again, which means another album from Burton Wagner, the DIY post-rock artist who releases an album every year on his birthday, November 25. While his previous releases, In the Realms of the Unreal and A Sentinel's Eyes, have been concept-based, his new album 21, is much more song based. Each song is named after and composed for a day that occured over the past year. As a result there is a pretty wide variety of sounds and emotions that change from song to song. The album sounds like a mix of the post-rock of his previous releases but with more pop, alternative, and shoegaze thrown in. This album doesn't push any envelopes after a titanic release lke ASE but each song is beautiful and memorable. Review to come shortly.

21 (2007) - Download - Review

November 24, 2007

Grails - Redlight

Grails is a chameleon of an indie band. Their most recent two releases have been psychedelic and jam-based while their 2004 LP, Redlight is oddly taut post-rock with modal inflections. Just based on personal tastes I gravitate towards the tight, composed pieces rather than the expansive jams, but their discography is interesting nonetheless. Redlight has a few goofy tracks but some killer ones too. Overall this album is beautiful. I've been sort of vague about its merits so definitely check out the review for a more detailed look at what these guys sound like.

Redlight (2004) - Download - Review

November 18, 2007

Karate - Unsolved

Karate is a midwest indie band in the spirit of Mineral and Boys Life, except some of the chord progressions and guitar inflections are jazz influenced. I've only listened once but I'm really liking it. Thanks to Astronation for this recent update.

Unsolved (2000) - Download

November 12, 2007

Little Brother - Get Back

Little Brother played the homecoming show at my school (Williams) this past weekend. I went in not expecting much as previous homecoming shows have sucked pretty hard (think The Virginia Coalition), but I was pleasantly surprised. I'm a big fan of De la Soul and I hear a pretty significant De la influence here. They just released a new album back in September, Get Back, which is awesome upon first listen. I think I'll write up a review some time in December so I'll update the "review" link then.

Get Back (2007) - Download

November 7, 2007

Envy - Abyssal

This is the new EP from Japan's Envy. For the unitiated, imagine if it was still cool to like Explosions in the Sky and there were some Hydra Head Records influences. This particular release is short but sweet and follows in the footsteps of their last LP, Insomniac Doze, which used a lot more soft textures and major keys than their previous releases did.

Abyssal (2007) - Download

November 2, 2007

Maudlin of the Well - Discography

Maudlin of the Well was Toby Driver's first project that existed while he was studying at Hampshire College. They released three massive LPs that got more melodic as they progressed.

My Fruit Psychobells...A Seed Combustible (1999) - Download - Review

Bath (2001) - Download - Review

Leaving Your Body Map (2001) - Download - Review

October 30, 2007

Kayo Dot - Discography

Yesterday's Toby Driver post sort of invtes me to complete his personal discography. I'll start by posting albums by Kayo Dot. Kayo Dot was formed as a reinterpretation of Driver's previous project, maudlin of the Well. He wanted to drop their metal name and reputation in favor of something new so he could pursue more abstruse and challenging musical territory. Kayo Dot plays unlike any band out there, yet is oddly palatable. They seamlessly combine elements of metal, jazz, post-rock, and modern classical. Their LPs are 5 tracks apiece but each lasts just over an hour ensuring expansive song structures that complement the surreal and engaging soundscape. Choirs of the Eye bears more of a resemblance to the material on maudlin of the Well and is more overtly metal and post-rock and was released on Tdazik. Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue is much more subtle and bizarre and was released on Robotic Empire.

Choirs of the Eye (2003) - Download - Review

Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue (2006) - Download - Review

Kayo Dot / Bloody Panda Split (2006) - Download

October 29, 2007

Toby Driver - In the L...L...Library Loft

Toby Driver is the frontman and primary composer for Kayo Dot (formerly maudlin of the Well). In the L...L...Library Loft is his first solo release. He composed these four pieces as an auxiliary to Kayo Dot. He consdered the content to be even too "out there" for his primary project, which itself is unusual avant garde metal. This album plays like an interesting blend of 20th century post-tonal music and the phase shifting of Steve Reich, all with that Toby Driver touch. Fans will be able to link this release to those of Kayo Dot and more recently Tartar Lamb but this release is singular and amazing in its own regard.

In the L...L...Library Loft (2005) - Download - Review

Comadre - Discography

Comadre is a band from Radwood City, CA. They play a mix of emo and punk and are really really really fun. Enough said.

The Youth (2004) - Download - Review

Burn Your Bones (2006) - Download - Review

More Songs About the Man (2006) - Download - Review

Comadre / Trainwreck Split (2007) - Download - Review

Crowd surfing to "Celly Cell" (I doubt you can see us but Victor and I are on the far right wall)

October 17, 2007

Maps and Atlases - Trees, Swallows, Houses

Maps and Atlases are an indie band from Chicago. However, instead of donning American Apparel gear and dicking around with banjos and electronics, the members of this band spent their time practicing two-handed tapping and listening to midwest indie from the late 90s. Imagine if Minus the Bear's old sound was sped up and jammed together with the rhythmic intensity of a band like Hella or Tera Melos. That is, all with acoustic guitars interspersed with the electric, making them sound like a technical version of Braid more than anything. Maps and Atlases are great. Exhibit A: their only formal release, Trees, Swallows, Houses. I saw them live this past summer with The Fall of Troy and Rx Bandits and they played a few new songs from their upcoming LP that pretty much shred as well so look out for that release.

Trees, Swallows, Houses (2006) - Download - Review

Jaga Jazzist - The Three LPs

Jaga Jazzist is a band from Norway with post-rock song structures but instrumentation and harmonies that draw mostly from the worlds of jazz and electronica. I first caught wind of them by sampling the beautiful track "Swedenborgske Rom" from What We Must. I was an immediate convert and listened to that one track probably 40 times in the first week I had it. Their other two albums are weirder and less aerial but have hundreds of interesting nooks and crannies to explore.

A Livingroom Hush (2001) - Download - Review

The Stix (2003) - Download - Review

What We Must (2005) - Download - Review

October 12, 2007

Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II - Fire & Water

Thrice has been my favorite band for quite a long time now. I first heard Identity Crisis and The Illusion of Safety in 2002 at the tender age of 15 going on 16. I have since had to anticipate three of their album releases. I picked up The Artist in the Ambulance in Alaska after having been on a month long camping / community service trip that left me out of touch with civilization. My reintroduction was via that album. Then, I snagged Vheissu off of a leak, which somewhat sated my need to hear the album as soon as possible. I ended up buying that album twice, once to get the vinyl of "The Weight of Glory" and another time to get the limited edition version. Now we come to The Alchemy Index. Anticipation has sucked. First of all they're cutting the release into two segments, further prolonging the painful wait. Also, Vagrant Records was very careful in making sure this thing didn't leak; the CDs given out on promo were copy protected. But I woke up today and found the whole album streaming on their myspace. It's pretty awesome. It's going to take some digestion time and it's the biggest departure for Thrice yet. Upon first listen though, it seems like a great album. I enthuse you to purchase the album. My pre-order should be arriving on Tuesday from MerchDirect along with a free t-shirt.

The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II - Fire & Water (2007) - Download - Stream - Review

Get excited for the Earth and Air discs as well, which should be released in Spring 2008. They sound really good so far based off of teaser videos and live performances.

Air Sonnet

Untitled Air Disc Song

"Come All You Weary" (Earth Disc)

October 10, 2007

Gospel - The Moon Is a Dead World

Gospel is a band that surprised the hell out of me. I think I was linked to a song by another band back in the day because I remembered my first impression of Gospel was that they were turgid and bland. Nothing could be more unbefitting of Gospel's awesome mix of emo, post-rock, and prog. Imagine the towering scope of an album like As the Roots Undo by Circle Takes the Square without pretention or loftiness and an odd sense of rhythmic structures and a drummer that absolutely kills. There are even flourishes of keyboards and weird effects that aren't incongruous with the more emo songwriting. A really singular album that I'm sad I only got into about 3 weeks ago. They have since broken up and The Moon Is a Dead World is their sole LP.

The Moon Is a Dead World (2005) - Download - Review

The Kidcrash - Recent Discography

The Kidcrash is a band that has gone through constant reinvention. They began humbly (with Beirut's very own Zach Condon as a frequent member) and their first LP, New Ruins, a pop punk / midwest indie type album that was released on Lujo Records (The Fall of Troy), to some positive response. The band since has disowned their older sound and have been crafting their current "mathy" sound since at least 2005. Their newer incarnation has yielded a stunning LP (Jokes) and two splits (to the best of my knowledge).

Split with Coffin Dancer (2007) - Download

Split with Arse Moreria (2007) - Download

Jokes (2007) - Download - Review

These releases can be purchased through the labels Init Records and Denovali Records. A super cheap copy of Jokes can be found here.

And lastly, here's a red hued video of them performing "Turtlelephant," the first track from their LP.

Tera Melos - Discography

Tera Melos is a band from Roseville, CA (outside of Sacramento). They play instrumental music that can best be described as a mix of math rock and post-hardcore. They have only released one proper LP (Tera Melos) from when they were a four-piece, but have since released an EP (Drugs to the Dear Youth) and a split CD with By the End of Tonight (Complex Full of Phantoms) as a three-piece. They are pretty awesome live. I saw them in 2006 at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco when they still had Worm in the band. So, below are three albums, two of which have reviews I've written, and a staged live performance of the first two tracks from Drugs to the Dear Youth.

Tera Melos (2005) - Download - Review

Drugs to the Dear Youth (2007) - Download - Review

Complex Full of Phantoms (2007) - Download

A Live Video of "40 Rods to the Hog's Head"